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Buff and Rebuff

Not counting two layovers in the Toronto airport, I’ve only been on Canadian soil once. In 1990, a friend and I made a day trip to Victoria, British Columbia. We took a rolling ferry from Port Angeles, Washington, across the Strait of San Juan de Fuca to Canada. It was a large ferry that conveyed automobiles as well as pedestrians, but the ferry landed in downtown Victoria, so we chose to leave our car at the ferry terminal on the U.S. side. We hadn’t long departed before my buddy missed his camera. Thinking back, he distinctly remembered laying it on top of the car while he gathered himself for boarding. Disconsolate, he wrote it off. After a day of exploring the beautiful little city, we returned to Port Angeles well after dark. Earlier in the day, we had breezed into Canada. There must’ve been some bureaucratic curtsy, but I don’t remember it. Arriving back in the U.S. was different. There was a long line of ferry passengers waiting to be cleared by customs workers, who asked pointed questions and inspected whatever documentation could be produced. This was long before Sept. 11, 2001, and Homeland Security. I expect today the routine we endured would seem tame, but we were tired, and we thought it a callous imposition. When we finally made it back to the car, sure enough: the camera was not where my friend had left it. Instead, we found it underneath the sheet metal hiding the windshield wipers, where some thoughtful soul had tucked it. OK, so it’s not a great story. It would be better if I had pictures to show you.